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Scots move over offshore safety

Scots move over offshore safety
Scottish MEPs have moved to try to safeguard the North Sea offshore industry from controversial plans for EU-wide safety rules.

Scottish MEPs have moved to try to safeguard the North Sea offshore industry from controversial plans for EU-wide safety rules.

A series of amendments were tabled yesterday to European Commission proposals which many fear could cost the UK oil and gas industry billions of pounds.

The commission wants to effectively take control of offshore safety across the EU, claiming the risk of a major incident is unacceptably high.

Industry leaders, trade unions and the Holyrood and Westminster governments oppose the move, saying North Sea firms already have the highest safety standards in the world, and new rules could jeopardise progress made since the 1988 Piper Alpha disaster.

Alyn Smith, SNP MEP, said 18 amendments to the proposed regulation were lodged yesterday.

“The current legislative proposal from the commission is not fit for purpose and could cost the industry up to £8billion.

“Blanket regulation across the whole of Europe would be detrimental when Scotland has been leading the way for so long,” he said.

“One of the amendments is a proposal to change the Commission’s plan from an EU-wide ban to a directive, meaning the new regulations would become in effect guidance. Hopefully these amendments will gain the backing of my colleagues.”

George Lyon, Liberal Democrat MEP for Scotland, said: “The commission should be focussing on bringing European standards up to the UK level, not imposing a central safety regime on all.”

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